Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Santa Cruz Tlaxcala House Music School, Santa Cruz, Tlaxcala, Mexico

Exemplary design categories: community use and involvement, music and theatre facilities

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The objective of this project was to create a quality facility for children and young people who are interested in music. It grew out of a concern about how children were spending their free time. The school can accommodate a maximum of 60 children at least 300 days per year. Students attend the music school in the evenings and receive formal education in the mornings at their regular school. The facility is used by the surrounding community within a 20km radius. The facility permits a 4 year old student to play with children up to 18 years, who may perform in a symphony orchestra.

The community - which is responsible for the care, maintenance and management of the facility - financed 80% of the cost of the facility. Built in adobe, they contributed materials from the region and called for in kind support for construction.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
Given the financial constraints, many people gave their time and resources to build the school as a service to the community, including the Director of the school, who approved the final design and supervised the work. Teachers and parents thus played a leading role in initiating the process of securing the site, finding the appropriate architect to carry out the project according to the needs of the community, then following up as the work was being completed. Teachers and parents supplied the materials and financial resources for construction. Students were also important during the planning of physical space. They gave advice and explained how they wished to study and perform with their instruments, individually or collectively. Students raised money for the construction through raffles and by performing concerts.

Activity Areas: Concert Hall (396 m2) for 100 performers maximum, including seating for 120 spectators; clubhouse for children. (312 m2); and storage for furniture and equipment (84 m2). Audition spaces: 6 audition cubicles (308 m2); 1 x 4-cubicle assembly (50 m2); 1 storage room (34 m2), administrative space (12 m2); and health unit (32 m2).

Project costs: USD 150,000.00

Source: Submitted to OECD for "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011" in 2010

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User perspectives (1)

"The facilities and physical spaces allow students to sit separately, in rows, sections or all together. In addition, the facilities allow for other orchestras from around the country to be invited to participate and use the spaces comfortably. Facilities are flexible and can accommodate 10 to 40 performers, while providing the opportunity for performing outdoors, which fascinates young children. There is enough space in the concert hall for up to 100 performers comfortably installed. Most importantly, there are good acoustics in the concert hall, so that any instrument can be identified when students are in full rehearsal or concert. The community can come and listen to their own orchestra."
Director, Music School

Images (5)

Drawings (1)

Plan (Registration required)
Credit: Arquitectonica